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Finland closes border with Russia for two weeks to stem asylum seeker flows

Finland will close all its borders with Russia for travelers for the next two weeks in an effort to stem unusually large flows of asylum seekers in the north of that country, which the government and its allies say is an orchestrated move by Moscow. Finland last week closed all border crossings to travelers from Russia except one, which it kept open in the northernmost part located in the Arctic. But this will also be closed now, the government announced today.

About 900 asylum seekers from countries such as Afghanistan, Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen they entered Finland from Russia in November, previously it was less than one per day, according to the Finnish border guard. The decision to close all eight border crossing points means that only freight traffic can exist between the two countries, as reported by APE-MPE.

Helsinki says Moscow is pushing asylum seekers across the border as retaliation for his decision to increase the defensive cooperation with the United States, a charge the Kremlin denies. Finland angered Russia earlier this year when it joined NATO, ending a decade-long policy of not joining military coalitions because of the war in Ukraine.

“This is an influence operation by Russia that we do not accept,” Prime Minister Petri Orpo said during a press conference. Yesterday, Monday, the Finnish prime minister said that he has information from the intelligence services that Russian authorities are helping asylum seekers and that despite the closure of border crossing points there are still more people who want to go from Russia to Finland.

Yesterday only three asylum seekers arrived in Finland through the remote station of Raya-Jusepi, the last open border post, while today there were no entries. The border post will remain open tomorrow before closing until December 13, the government announced. Finland’s anti-discrimination commissioner said last week that the remote location of the Raya Juseppi border post raised concerns that Helsinki was jeopardizing the right to apply for asylum. Asylum can still be claimed by travelers arriving by sea and by air, the Finnish government said today.

Source: News Beast

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